Last night I watched The King’s Speech and loved it.
All the way through, a quote that I once read played at the back of my mind; and I was pleased when I heard it used in the film. Attributed to George V, it is something like this:
My father was afraid of his father; I was afraid of my father; and I’ll make damn sure my children are afraid of me.
These days, of course, it is the parents who are afraid of the children.
I always remember that quote in conjunction with an amusing story I once read about George VI as a child. The Royal Family were eating lunch. GV was talking and little Bertie interrupted, ‘Father, Father.’ Daddy G was furious and told Bertie to pipe down, not interrupt, and speak when he was spoken to. Little Bertie subsided, abashed.
Once lunch was over, King George said sternly to the little prince, ‘Now you may speak. What is it?’
Bertie replied, ‘I wanted to warn you that you were about to eat a caterpillar with your lettuce.’
That reminds me of something I once read in Reader’s Digest:
A religious and stern father insisted that his children arrived promptly at the breakfast table each day. One morning, his daughter was late. As she sat down he said to her, ‘Child of the devil!’
‘Good morning, Father,’ she replied.
I sat down to write this post and then noticed the date: today, the fourth of August, is the Queen Mother’s birthday. The same Queen Mother who married the Bertie who became George VI.
It is well-known that she liked a tipple (and a flutter – she had the race commentary piped into her house on racing days) and she liked her first tipple at the same time everyday. It is also well-known that many of her staff were gay.
One day, tipple time arrived, but no beverage. The QM waited a bit and finally phoned down to the staff: ‘When you old queens have finished chatting, this old Queen would like her G&T!’